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Well, some of us, Charles, are just happy smiling people.

Which I suppose is strange in this rainy city, but it is what it is.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 23, 2007 11:43 AM

Part one: Looks to me like his face is screaming with hurt and pain.

Part two: Your mother sounds like a total bitch. How dare Americans (love the exclusive) smile at you. Let's all carry no emotion when we walk around. That'll make everybody's day. Great thinking. Should we log our dodged dose over at Equilibrium if we fuck up?

Part three: Have a discussion about this with the ever-so fabulous Ms. Dutton, who happens to own a smile and a laugh that would fill even Hitler's heart with warmth.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 23, 2007 11:49 AM

smiling is how apes communicate to other apes that they are not threats.

see, other peoples who are not americans? we americans are not threats to you - we only want your natural resources! smile!

Posted by maxsolomon | July 23, 2007 11:50 AM

Yeah but I have to admit that there are days when I don't smile, don't feel like smiling, and feel practically besieged on all sides by people who want to cheer me up. Me and Bill Hicks, I swear:

"C'mon! It takes less energy to smile than it does to frown!"
"Yeah? Well it takes less energy for you leave me the fuck alone."

Posted by Chris B | July 23, 2007 11:55 AM

The more you write, the more I think you are an unpleasant, angry man.

Goodnes help any of your children if they, gasp, grow up to be happy (I'm sure you'll brow-beat that crazy idea out of their young head).

Posted by michael | July 23, 2007 12:00 PM

Part I: The Mudede Stone Look.

You misspelled "Stoned"

Posted by mason | July 23, 2007 12:04 PM

Michael can screw off. Read Part Two. It's a plea for authenticity.

Also, this made me smile a real, honest to god smile. Especially Charles' post of himself. I think that's awesome.

Posted by john | July 23, 2007 12:04 PM

While I can see Part the Second as a plea for authenticity, I smile at a lot of people in the course of my day, whether I'm working or walking down the street. If it makes them feel intruded upon, they can do what many assholes do, and just turn their noses up in the air and ignore me. Then I'll do what I normally do, which is laugh out loud.

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | July 23, 2007 12:16 PM

I thank God on behalf of your children that the little ones acculturate to American culture so quickly and easily. That, perhaps, is their greatest hope of not growing up to become people that cut themselves to feel something.

Posted by Gitai | July 23, 2007 12:19 PM

Interesting. I'm an American who moved to Gaborone in 1988 and recall that at first I was surprised that almost everyone said hello (dumela) when passing on the street. Now that I think about it, it was automatic for me to smile when exchanging greetings, even with strangers. Perhaps that's a somewhat American reflex, like smiling when a photo is taken.

Posted by Carrie | July 23, 2007 12:32 PM

this is one of the most amusing criticisms of americans. just as those from your culture aspire to look cold and unemotive, we like to look warm and approachable. just chalk it up to cultural differences and leave it at that.

i can't speak for all americans who smile too much, but i don't think it's because "they think they know you". probably just that they think it's nice to be smiled at.

Posted by brandon | July 23, 2007 12:38 PM

This is especially funny coming from someone who lives in Seattle, considering that this city is well known for its "cold shoulder."

Posted by Justinius | July 23, 2007 1:00 PM

Charles smiles all the time.

Posted by Paulus | July 23, 2007 1:01 PM

Really, haaah, what is the point of adopting a stone-faced look if you are stone-faced all the time?

Smile, don't smile--but let's not pretend one default expression is superior to the other.

Posted by ben | July 23, 2007 1:04 PM

Americans and our willingness to look at other people make us unique. In many European countries, if you look at someone directly, it is an invitation to talk. So when we look at people, and then smile (as it is polite in our society to do so, Charles) it gives a weird signal that we want to talk.

I had an older German man explain that to me. Very fascinating. After you learn to stop looking at people directly, you can spot the other Americans in a crowd with ease (not that its not easy already...but you get the point)

Posted by Original Monique | July 23, 2007 1:08 PM

Charles, the American smile is a political strategy. It serves to reinforce the American myth of equality and universal value. It says "I believe we have commonalities and I believe that given time, I would have a reason to smile at you." This myth is no more harmful than any lie other cultures tell and believe. I don't know anything about African culture (or, at least, anything I'd be willing to posit as definitive) so I have no idea what cultural lie motivates your boy's face. All lies, though, make their most prominent manifestation on the face -- and everyone lies all the time. This, I am sure, is one of the only universals of the human existence. Everyone, in order to succeed inside their cultures, their families and their occupations, must constantly deceive their peers. No one can ever admit to everything he wants and remain legitimate. Our survival depends on our ability to lie.

Posted by josef | July 23, 2007 1:22 PM

@13 - yeah, actually, he does, it's rare he isn't.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 23, 2007 1:51 PM

@2 - Mr. Poe, you are a well documented Mudede hater, as are many of the sloggers who still feel compelled to read and comment on all his posts, but taking a cheap shot at his mom? C'mon now.

Posted by longball | July 23, 2007 1:57 PM


I do not hate Charles. Not even close. As for the comment about his mother, how is that a cheap shot? Now that I've read it, it does sound a bit harsh...funny harsh, actually. I'm extra proud of myself. He'll understand. Besides, we're bros. We used to hang out every day and read Lolita together in the park while a sprinkler gently sprays us in the sun. Oh Charles, remember the fun?!

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 23, 2007 2:05 PM

*sprayed. Fuck.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 23, 2007 2:06 PM

This "article" is the very reason why the US needs to restrict immigration.

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 2:17 PM

OK, Mr. Poe, you are forgiven, but only because EH's post @21 sets a new standard in this thread for knuckle-dragging offensiveness. Sometimes EH helps remind me that the rest of us are all on the same side, despite our petty squabbles. hugz?

Posted by longball | July 23, 2007 2:23 PM

Oh. My. God.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 23, 2007 2:26 PM

Yes, hugz. The 'omg' was for E**e's post.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 23, 2007 2:29 PM

One could always turn the argument around and say that Ecce is an argument against birthright citizenship.

Posted by Gitai | July 23, 2007 2:51 PM

A immigrant to america who expresses an dislike for american culture is not one that we need to have in our country. Period.

Why would someone who doesn't like americans move to america? We don't need that kind of immigrant.

And this is a new low? Your defintion of low is pretty shallow.

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 3:15 PM

one aspect of american culture he does not like. im sure he likes others.

i am sure your fellow nativists dislike you and your points of view on culture.

puritans are not the only ones whose values' matter.

Native americans dont smile at passerbys, and surely you are not advocating deporting them because frankly the only reason you are here is because they didnt have an immigration policy when your lot came over from Europe or wherever.

Posted by SeMe | July 23, 2007 3:20 PM

Your point about indians doesn't make any sense. I have met plenty of indians who smile. And considering that they are american citizens BORN in the US, why/how could you deport them.

Could you explain?

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 3:24 PM

"and surely you are not advocating deporting them"

you means you not me.

im sure youve met some natives who smile, but native culture throughout the americas is not big on smiling. surely you know that.

when you say deport those who dont like those who smile than the example was brought to ilustrate that your puritan nativist values are not the only ones that made this country.

you are the guest of this country. and again, if native americans had an immigration policy perhaps they would have deported you.


Posted by SeMe | July 23, 2007 3:30 PM


I was born here. I am not a guest.

The indians lost, get over it.

And to generalize native culture across the US is impossible and racist. They are all not the same.

My point is about america hating immigrants. Why don't you go back to where you are from if you don't like it here.

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 3:33 PM

How is it that everyone else knows Charles and I don't? Goddamnit. Someday, someday.

Posted by Katelyn | July 23, 2007 3:37 PM

I mean the american hating immigrants should go back, not you SeMe. Unless you are an america hating immigrant.

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 3:37 PM

nativism and patriotism are truly the last refuge of scoundrels.

im out.

Posted by SeMe | July 23, 2007 3:39 PM

why do - *ahem* - certain commenters feel the need to bait other commenters into silly, protracted debates when they are clearly lacking a substantive, coherent, remotely-relevant-to-the-present-topic argument? anyone dropping highly inflammatory one-liners into the comments section is clearly looking to rumble.

i think maybe certain commenters need more hugs at home. and i think maybe the rest of us need to just ignore certain commenters.

Posted by brandon | July 23, 2007 4:23 PM

the sooner we can put ecce homo on ignore, the sooner most of us will breath a sigh of relief.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 23, 2007 4:34 PM

Yeah, cause your sensitive little self can't handle a little ecce homo can it will.

You and Sean both have such a hard on for me. I think its cause you actually agree with my points, but in the little gay, seattle, hipster yuppie world you reside in, you can't wrap your brain around the fact that I am right about most things.

THe point of Chaz's little speech was that americans smiling is stupid. To which I replied that ANY immigrant who is anti-american needs to go back to where they came from. Its all of YOU that are off topic. Perhaps your posts need to be deleted.

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 5:05 PM
You and Sean both have such a hard on for me.

You wish.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 23, 2007 5:26 PM

well, one could argue that your contempt for freedom of expression is decidedly more anti-american than someone else's contempt for people smiling too much. but then one would be completely defying one's own plea to one's fellow sloggers to just ignore you. and that would just be stupid.

Posted by brandon | July 23, 2007 5:36 PM

I have NO comtempt for freedom whatsoever.

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 7:40 PM

Not contempt for freedom in general, contempt for 'freedom of expression' read the whole sentence please.
Your almost deliberate misunderstanding of statements makes me think you're doing this for attention.
And the point that he was trying to get through to you was that just because someone doesn't like one tiny part of the culture (like smiling all the time) doesn't mean they hate *all* of America or the entire culture. Do you even like all of your own culture?

Ok, No more feeding the troll. You really should register ecce, that way I could put you on ignore.

Posted by arandomdude | July 23, 2007 11:28 PM

I agree with ecce's sentiment; that one who cannot produce a liberal/progressive point of view should not be allowed to comment on a liberal/progressive blog - they should be deported to

Posted by seattle98104 | July 24, 2007 9:39 AM

I think Charles looks a little bit like Lennie James in this picture, and I think that's cool.

Posted by Kiru Banzai | July 24, 2007 11:26 AM

I smile at people because I actually, genuinely, really and authentically like people. I am a happy person, and it shows.

Except for ungracious twits like Charles and, apparently, his mother. I'll smile at people like that just to get 'em riled up. I still win.

Posted by Lee Gibson | July 24, 2007 7:38 PM

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